Saturday, 25 February 2017

Manipulating freedom of Speech - When Authors Go Bad: Part 2

This is Part 2 of the "When Authors Go Bad" feature article.

If you'd like to read Part One:
 
I decided to write these posts because they are topical and as a fiction author  I often take what is topical and speculate on what might happen if that practice continues unchecked. It's the basis of many of my novels. What happens if there is a global one child per couple policy? What happens if people continue to spend too much time in virtual worlds?  

In an earlier post, I spoke about click baiting as a lure to engage people on social media sites. Some authors, desperate to increase exposure and ergo sales, are falling into the trap of posting innocuous or contentious posts on Twitter and Facebook with the sole purpose of  inciting an argument, while declaring that they are merely stating their opinion. The risk for authors who are click baiting is that they allowing their integrity to slide for the sake of exposure.
 
In today's post I'm looking at how social media has become a platform for those with opinions - good or bad - to share while waving the banner of free speech. Or more accurately, 'It's my blog and I'll post what I want. And if you voice your opinion back then you're a bully." The risk to authors who wave this banner of free speech is that it's a two way street. You post something people don't like, and they have the right to comment on it.
 
 
I'm all for freedom of speech: take it away and we lose so much more than the right to voice our opinions, we lose the right to take a stand against behaviour that is criminal and offensive. Public opinion has the power to change civil liberties. The freedom to voice public opinion is a good thing and it should never be taken away.

The result of controlling the free speech mediums is censorship. Nobody in the free-thinking worlds wants to be like Korea or China or Russia, where free thought is not only discouraged, it can be against the law. Authors especially do not like to be censored. I've always considered authors to be the type of people who are opposed to censorship. A novel has the power to allow another person to consider another side of the story.

Authors need to operate under the banner of free speech. We need freedom of thought and opinion. We need to hold tightly to this flag and we wave it proudly. After all, many authors have shown us that it's not okay to hang a black man for a crime he didn't commit such as in To Kill A Mockingbird.

What we do not need is to start arguments in cyber space and claim that we do so while operating under the banner of free speech, and then cry foul if the results of said manipulation aren't what we expected. In a further post I'll talk more about Freedom of Ramification.

What do you think? Are some people taking the 'freedom of speech' premise and using it to exploit themselves and lift their profile? I'd love to hear your thoughts or if you've had a similar experience.

Next post coming soon.



 

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